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Thursday, July 15, 2010

#19 Logotherapy Technique: Socratic Dialogue

#21 Logotherapy Technique: Dereflection
Replaced by Lesson 4: The Primary Techniques of Logotherapy
11 September 2010

#20 Logotherapy Technique: Paradoxical Intention
Replaced by Lesson 4: The Primary Techniques of Logotherapy
14 August 2010

#19 Logotherapy Technique: Socratic Dialogue
Replaced by Lesson 4: The Primary Techniques of Logotherapy
15 July 2010

The Socratic Dialogue is a way of engaging the client in a discussion that allows the client to discover what he or she already knows on some level.  The Socratic Dialogue is a technique shared with other forms of psychotherapy, though in other therapies it often involves "trapping" the client in a logical snare, revealing to them the errors of their reasoning.  In Logotherapy, Socratic Dialogue is closer to the vision attributed to Socrates.  That involves "midwifing" or allowing the client to give birth to new ideas.  For this reason, the technique is often called Maieutic Dialogue in Logotherapy.  Maieutic is a term derived from the Greek that means to act as a midwife. 

One may surmise that the client has already formed these ideas, either preconsciously, unconsciously, or through the spiritual unconscious.  The therapist does not presume to know the right solution for the client, accepts this ignorance, and appeals to the wisdom of the client's spirit.  Frankl wrote: "It is not necessary, however, to enter into sophisticated debate with the patients.  Logos is deeper than logic." 

One way in which Socratic or Maieutic Dialogue is begun in Logotherapy is by asking what Dr. Elisabeth Lukas calls a two-legged question.  A two legged question has one leg in the client's presenting problem and the other leg in the client's area of freedom.  A famous example from Dr. Lukas is, "Why stand among the flowers and water the weeds?"  This same principle is illustrated in another famous quote by Dr. Jerry Long, a Franklian psychologist who was paralyzed from the neck down, when he said, "I broke my neck, it did not break me,"

Case studies are presented from Dr. Frankl, Dr. Lukas, and my own practice.

Thank you for listening. Please email any questions or comments to and may you have a meaningful day.

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